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Ghana Is Ready For AfCFTA - Trade Minister

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyerematen, says Ghana is ready to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

He said the government had rolled out the necessary structures capable of facilitating the smooth take-off in January 2021.

“I say we are ready on two grounds. First, we have introduced institutional frameworks that make us ready and I believe you recall that the President has introduced an inter-ministerial facilitation team made up of critical sector ministers who are supposed to provide strategic guidance and support to make Ghana ready for the AfCFTA.

"There is a national steering committee that is coordinating and guiding the support that will be given to the private companies and other stakeholders," the Minister stated.

Mr Kyerematen explained that a National AfCFTA Coordinating Office was established to coordinate the activities of the bloc in Ghana while seven technical working groups were also constituted to examine details required to make sure that the policy was supportive and provided assistance to the benefit of private companies.

Mr Kyerematen announced this at the closing ceremony of a two-day national conference on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in Accra.

The event was held on the theme: “Empowering Ghanaian Businesses to harness the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement under the Framework of the National Export Development Strategy (NED).”

The Minister noted that increasing intra-African trade would lead to a rapid increase in the exchange of agricultural, industrial, financial, scientific and technological products, which would significantly enhance Ghana’s economic fortunes, create profit for Ghanaian businesses and provide opportunities for youth employment.

The President of the Association of Ghana Industries, Dr Yaw Adu Gyamfi, expressed the readiness of industries under the association to utilise the opportunities presented by AfCFTA.

He noted that the citing of the AfCFTA Secretariat in Ghana provides a huge opportunity for Ghanaian businesses to leverage on for the production of goods and services for export.

Mr Gyamfi encouraged industries to strategise well and invest in building their export capacity.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Private Enterprise Federation (PEF), Nana Osei Bonsu, called on manufacturers to be more innovative and concentrate on adding value to the country's raw material base to generate more foreign exchange earnings.

He urged the private sector to work in close collaboration with the government to identify trading opportunities.

The Secretary-General of Trades Union Congress (TUC), Dr Anthony Yaw Baah lauded the government for negotiating the AfCFTA agreement.

He, however, encouraged collaboration between key stakeholders to ensure that the country benefits fully from the implementation of the AfCFTA.

The AfCFTA makes Africa the largest free trade area in the world with a population of 1.2 billion people and a total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of over US$3.4 trillion.

It aims at creating a single continental market for goods and services with free movement of business persons and investments to promote intra-continental trade.